The BBC has begun trialling subtitles for live channels for its iPlayer service.
Subtitles have only been available for on-demand programmes in the past, and such a move would see iPlayer become the first major VoD service to offer the feature.
The BBC is looking test and improve the feature over the coming months before it is rolled out to BBC iPlayer’s app for mobiles and tablets – as well as connected TVs in the future.
Twenty per cent of on-demand programmes are currently watched with subtitles, so the corporation sees making the feature available for all programming as a priority.
Gareth Ford Williams, head of accessibility for the BBC, said, “The BBC is already a world-leading provider of accessible services, but we know there is always more to do. We want to ensure our content and services are accessible to everyone, and this trial will give viewers who are deaf or hearing-impaired access to even more programming than ever before.”
Dr Roger Wicks, Action on Hearing Loss, added said, “We welcome this breakthrough from the BBC, which is a huge step in the right direction for full accessibility for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Our ‘Subtitle It!’ campaign has been working towards increasing online broadcasters’ use of subtitles on online content and we’re delighted that the BBC is leading the way by trialling this new feature.”